What Is an Online College?

Online colleges provide students with the opportunity to take courses and complete a degree program completely online. This article provides more detail about online colleges.

Overview of Online Colleges

A growing number of students are obtaining their college education through online colleges. These institutions are schools that offer full degree programs over the Internet. Many traditional schools have branches that conduct online degree programs. Working professionals often turn to online colleges so that they can attend class over the Internet and still accommodate their work schedules. The credentials awarded to those who complete online college programs range from basic to advanced, including associate's degrees, doctorates and everything in between.

Important Facts About Online Colleges

Program Frequency Many programs start multiple times per year at various intervals. This varies by college and program.
Entry-level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Financial Aid Scholarships, Grants, Federal and Private Loans, Federal Work Study
Continuing Education Available through some online colleges

Common Subjects

Since online colleges conduct class completely over the Internet, they often deal with subjects that don't require hands-on training. Some topics that are commonly covered by online college degree programs are information technology, business administration, project management and nursing. Some programs, like nursing, may require students to have previous education or experience in the field.

Teaching Methods

The format of online colleges does somewhat limit the teaching methods employed. The fact that the students don't meet in person keeps them from doing many types of collaborative assignments or group work. Most online colleges present recorded lectures in audio or video format and allow students to access them on their own time. Some schools do have students interact with each other through online chat rooms and message boards.

Assessment Methods

Online colleges typically have students submit papers and assignments through email, but some schools also assess student learning by assigning portfolios that are developed throughout the course. This method allows instructors to see the students' progress over time and accurately evaluate their improvement.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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